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What is Clapboard Siding & Average Costs?

Clapboard siding is also known as wood plank or beveled wood siding. Clapboard is used mostly for exterior siding and is identifiable by its overlapping-board design. The boards are thicker on one end than the other and shaped like a wedge. They are applied like shingles to the home's exterior with the thin side underneath the thick edge. Once installed, they can be left unfinished or can be stained and painted. Clapboard comes in a wide variety of styles, finishes and textures. It can come in several widths and lengths and can also be man-made in materials such as fiber-cement.

The Costs 

  • Minimum Costs: $5 per square foot
  • Maximum Costs: $10 per square foot

For a 1,500sf home, the average cost for clapboard installation can be between $7,500 and $15,000. Redwood siding costs around $6 to $9 per square foot while cedar siding costs $6 to $7 per square foot. Cheaper options such as pine, fir and spruce cost $5 to $6 per square foot. Cost depends on home size, area, type of wood and thickness of the board. Some homeowners purchase extra siding for future use in case the clapboard is damaged and boards need replacing.

Types of Clapboard

Red cedar clapboard is usually most expensive, coming in at about $8 to $10 per square foot. It is a very attractive option for siding, however. The beauty of most clapboard is hard to beat, and it is a top choice among many builders. Pine and spruce siding are more economical, although they require higher maintenance due to rot-resistance issues. Cedar siding is considerably higher in cost but is superior in resistance against moisture and insects. Redwood is expensive, very durable and has a beautiful texture. Redwood is a favorite of builders because of its ease of installation. It is easily painted, easier to hang than shingles and when well maintained, lasts the lifetime of the home.

Cedar is a great wood to work with due to its straight grain and uniformly even texture. It is extremely durable and low density, making it one of the longer-lasting types of clapboard. It features superior air-circulation qualities and tends to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Another perk to cedar siding is that it absorbs sound better, making the home more sound proof and insulated.

About Clapboard

Clapboard has been around for many years due to its sturdy and breathable nature. During colonial times, clapboard was used to ward off cold air in winters and for its breathable nature in the summer. In fact, many colonial homes built centuries ago are still in good shape today. It can be found in aluminum, vinyl or fiber cement, but it is most usually made from cedar and redwood. These types of wood are more resistant to decay and are aesthetically beautiful. They are also higher maintenance and need painting and re-staining ever few years, depending on weather and environmental factors.

Clapboard was traditionally left unfinished, especially when first built in colonial times, but more recently, most clapboard hung is now painted to keep the boards from turning gray. Leaving clapboard unfinished is still an option, however, since proper air circulation and semi-hardwoods will help to keep the board from rotting or decaying. Tannin, a resin found in cedar, is a natural insect repellent.


With proper maintenance and care, wood clapboard siding can last for many years, outlasting even vinyl. Maintenance includes periodic painting, staining and caulking as well as removing and repairing rotted or damaged boards. It is recommended to paint or re-stain every four to six years and to apply fungicide and mildew retardants every three or four years, especially in warmer climates. An oil finish should be applied every five years or so in dryer climates.


Builders will generally need:

  • Clapboard fit to the correct size of the home
  • Chalk lines for weatherproofing
  • A table saw for cutting boards
  • Sealant for fitting the board to the exterior

To hang clapboard siding, builders should determine number of feet needed to cover the home. Walls should first be weatherproofed to create breathing space and to encourage proper condensation to avoid mold and rot. Once walls are weatherproofed, create a starter strip by sawing 1.5 inches off the top of the clapboard and line up with the first full-width clapboard. Apply sealant, and bend the clapboard's ends into it. Be sure each board is evenly spaced. When the clapboard is ready to hang, sealant is applied where wall meets the corner board. Push ends into the sealant, align with the corner boards and nail it to the studs that were already placed in the wall during preparation and weatherproofing. Stagger each joint as it goes up the wall, and be sure to properly hang per building instructions around windows and doors. Rotted siding is repaired by removing only the layer of wood that is rotted along with the vertical caulk joints. The damaged portion is removed by saw and replaced with custom cut wood.

Advantages of Clapboard Siding

Clapboard can be painted or stained, which is great for those who like changing the theme of their home from time to time. It also comes in a variety of textures and finishes. Clapboard is durable, breathable and lasts the lifetime of the home. It's aesthetically pleasing and looks beautiful on any home.

Disadvantages of Clapboard Siding

One of the biggest downfalls to clapboard is its high-susceptibility rate to insects and animals. It also requires more maintenance; if the wood is painted, it will need repainting from time to time. It can be difficult to install over existing siding and requires an exterior finish for maximum efficiency. If the home is not properly ventilated, paint issues may arise.

Last updated on May 19, 2016

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